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- Author or Editor: S.A. Sargent x
Green tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum `Sunny') fruit were stored at 2.5, 5, 7.5, 10, or 12.5 °C (36.5, 41, 45.5, 50, or 54.5 °F) for 1, 3, 5, or 7 days to determine their sensitivity to chilling injury. In subsequent experiments, fruit were treated with ethylene at 20 °C (68 °F) until the breaker stage was reached, either before or after storage at 12.5 °C for 0, 1, 3, 5, or 7 days, or 2.5 °C for 3, 5, 7, or 9 days. Number of days to reach the breaker stage was used as an indicator of initial maturity. The chilling threshold temperature for green `Sunny' tomatoes was near 7.5 °C, with delayed ripening occurring in fruit stored for ≥5 days. Longer exposure times at chilling temperatures resulted in reduced marketable life, dull color, flaccidity, and delayed, uneven (blotchy) and nonuniform ripening. Chemical composition was generally unaffected by chilling, while loss of firmness as a result of chilling exposure time rather than chilling temperatures per se was observed. Increased storage time at either 2.5 or 12.5 °C accentuated the initial differences in fruit maturity and thus resulted in less uniform ripening, especially for tomatoes stored before ethylene treatment, but the effect was much greater following 2.5 °C storage. Exposure to 2.5 °C for as little as 3 days before ethylene treatment caused blotchy ripening and decay, and reduced the marketable life of tomatoes by half compared to storage at nonchilling temperature. Treatment with ethylene before storage prevented chilling injury for up to 5 days at 2.5 °C and prolonged the marketable life of tomatoes stored at either chilling or nonchilling temperature. Tomatoes became less responsive to poststorage ethylene treatment with increased storage time at either 2.5 or 12.5 °C. More mature tomatoes and those treated with ethylene before 12.5 °C storage lost less weight. Vitamin C content was lower in more mature tomatoes, but ethylene treatment resulted in better maintenance of vitamin C by shortening the time to reach the red stage. No other significant differences in color, firmness or chemical composition at the red stage were found between fruit with different initial maturities or fruit treated with ethylene before or after 2.5 or 12.5 °C storage. Treating green tomatoes with ethylene before storage or transport is preferable to poststorage treatment because of faster and more uniform ripening, and also increased marketable life and reduced risk of injury in the event of exposure to chilling temperatures.
Two greenhouse cucumber (Cucumis sativus) cultivars with differing fruit types [European (`Bologna') and Beit-alpha (`Sarig')] were grown during two seasons in a perlite medium in black plastic nursery containers in a passively ventilated greenhouse in northern Florida to evaluate fruiting responses to nitrogen (N) fertilization over the range of 75 to 375 mg·L–1. Fruit production, consisting mostly of fancy fruits, increased quadratically with N concentration in the nutrient solution, leveling off above 225 mg·L–1 for both cucumber cultivars. Fruit length and diameter were not affected by N concentration in the nutrient solution. Leaf N concentration, averaged over three sampling dates, increased linearly with N concentration in the nutrient solution from 46 g·kg–1 with 75 mg·L–1 N to 50 g·kg–1 with 375 mg·L–1 N. Fruit firmness decreased with increasing N concentration and there was little difference in firmness between the two cultivars. Firmness was similar across three measurement dates during the spring harvest season, but increased during the season in the fall. Fruit color responses to N concentration were dependent on the specific combination of experiment, sampling date, and cultivar. For most combinations of experiment, sampling date, and cultivar, cucumber epidermal color was greener (higher hue angle) with increased N concentration. The color was darkest (lowest L* value) and most intense (highest chroma value) with intermediate to higher N concentrations.
Delays in initiating the cooling of freshly harvested `Chandler' strawberries (Fragaria ×ananassa) were compared with prompt cooling to determine how such handling affected development of postharvest decays during subsequent storage and marketing. Strawberries at the three-quarter to full red ripeness stages were harvested four times between mid-June and late July, inoculated with Botrytis cinerea or Rhizopus stolonifer and then handled to simulate prompt or delayed precooling prior to storage. This was done by incubating fruit at 35 °C (95.0 °F) and 70% to 80% relative humidity (RH) for 1 or 6 hours. The fruit were then forced-air cooled to 5 °C (41.0 °F) in 1 hour and stored for 7 days at 2 °C (35.6 °F) and 85% to 95% RH, plus displayed in a simulated market at 20 °C (68.0 °F) and 85% RH for 1 day. Decay incidence increased as the season progressed. For non-inoculated fruit, prompt cooling reduced the incidence of decay by an average of 25% and the decay severity by ∼24%. With inoculated fruit, prompt cooling resulted in 15% and 29% decreases in the incidence and severity, respectively, of rhizopus rot compared to delayed cooling, and 5% and 22% decreases in the incidence and severity, respectively, of botrytis rot. Overall, the incidence of botrytis and rhizopus fruit rot averaged 60% and 85% in the prompt and delayed cooling treatments, respectively. Although prompt cooling is important for minimizing postharvest decay of strawberries, temperature management alone may not sufficiently control postharvest decay when decay pressure is high.
Two newly released cultivars of small watermelons [Citrullus lunatus (Thumb.) Matsum and Naki], `Mickylee' and `Minilee', plus two other cultivars, Baby Fun and Sugar Baby, were stored at various temperatures from 1 to 21C for up to 4 weeks plus 1 week at 21C over two seasons. All cultivars were susceptible to chilling injury (CI) when stored below 7C; however, `Minilee' was less susceptible than the other cultivars tested. Chilling injury increased with storage length. Conditioning at 26C for 3 days before storage at 1C reduced CI and increased the percentage of marketable watermelons after storage. Decay percentage increased with storage time and was highest on fruit held at 1C where CI led to decay. The flesh of `Mickylee' and `Minilee' was firmer than that of the other cultivars tested and `Mickylee' and Minilee' retained their firmness better during storage. Total soluble solids concentration decreased with increased storage temperature. `Minilee' watermelons were superior to the other three cultivars in postharvest storage potential and exhibited the least CI and decay.
Greenhouse experiments were conducted in 2005 and 2006 near Live Oak, FL, to develop fertilization programs for fresh-cut ‘Nufar’ basil (Ocimum basilicum) and spearmint (Mentha spicata) in troughs with soilless media using inputs compliant with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Organic Program (NOP). Four NOP-compliant fertilizer treatments were evaluated in comparison with a conventional control. Treatments and their analyses in nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K) contents are as follows: conventional hydroponic nutrient solution [HNS (150 ppm N, 50 ppm P, and 200 ppm K)], granular poultry (GP) litter (4N–0.9P–2.5K), granular composite [GC (4N–0.9P–3.3K)], granular meal [GM (8N–2.2P–4.1K)], and GM plus a sidedress application of 5N–0.9P–1.7K fish emulsion (GM + FE). Electrical conductivity (EC) of the media, fresh petiole sap nitrate (NO3-N) and K concentrations, dried whole leaf NO3-N, P, and K concentrations, and yield and postharvest quality of harvested herbs were evaluated in response to the treatments. Basil yield was similar with HNS (340 g/plant) and GP (325 g/plant) in 2005 and greatest with HNS (417 g/plant) in 2006. Spearmint yield was similar with all treatments in 2005. In 2006, spearmint yields were similar with the HNS and GP yields (172 and 189 g/plant, respectively) and greater than the yields with the remaining treatments. In both years and crops, media EC values were generally greater with the GC than with the GP, GM, and GM + FE treatments but not in all cases and ranged from 1.77 to 0.55 dS·m−1 during the experiments. Furthermore, HNS media EC values were consistently equal to or lower than the GP media EC values except with EC measurements on 106 days after transplanting in both crops in 2005. Petiole NO3-N and K results were variable among crops and years, but provided valuable insight into the EC and yield data. We expected EC, petiole NO3-N, and petiole K to be consistently higher with HNS than with organic treatments, but they were not, indicating a reasonable synchrony of nutrient availability and crop demand among the organic treatments. The postharvest quality of both basil and spearmint was excellent with all treatments with few exceptions.